There are many different approaches to a beneficial warm up. A few years ago it seemed like the most famous thing to do was either hop on a bike or a treadmill for 5 to 10 minutes and "get the blood flowing." As we learn more in the exercise science field we are finding different approaches such as foam rolling and soft tissue work, pnf stretching, and other methods. I am going to talk about how we approach a warm up from client to client.
When a client comes in, they are going to be feeling differently from time to time depending on how they slept, what their day was like, or how they feel from the last session.
A good warm up should entail two things:
1. Increasing blood flow to active working muscle
2. Increasing ranges of motion in points of interest
Increasing blood flow to active working muscle enables the cardiovascular system to get ready for the demands that are going to be placed upon it. We never really want to just jump right in to a workout, gradually work the heart rate up so that we can achieve an optimal training level prior to starting the workout.
One of the other biggest areas that I think lacks the most is our second point; increasing ranges of motion in points of interests. The points of interests are usually found in the hips and shoulders. If you have a desk job and are sitting 8 hours a day, your hip flexors are going to tighten and have an effect on your lower back and hamstrings. Consequently, if you also have a job that you are sitting for numerous hours a day, we have a tendency to round our shoulders forward as well. By increasing our range of motion in these areas, we allow for ourselves to train through a much more effective range of motion and limit the amount of strain being put on muscles making up for a tightness somewhere else.
We always want to move from a specific to general warm up, meaning target smaller areas and then move towards more of full body movements such as bodyweight squats or push ups.
Stay tuned for a video on some different warm up technique.